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WikiProject Languages (Rated Project-class)
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User script to detect unreliable sourcesEdit

I have (with the help of others) made a small user script to detect and highlight various links to unreliable sources and predatory journals. Some of you may already be familiar with it, given it is currently the 39th most imported script on Wikipedia. The idea is that it takes something like

  • John Smith "Article of things" Accessed 2020-02-14. (John Smith "[ Article of things]" ''''. Accessed 2020-02-14.)

and turns it into something like

It will work on a variety of links, including those from {{cite web}}, {{cite journal}} and {{doi}}.

The script is mostly based on WP:RSPSOURCES, WP:NPPSG and WP:CITEWATCH and a good dose of common sense. I'm always expanding coverage and tweaking the script's logic, so general feedback and suggestions to expand coverage to other unreliable sources are always welcomed.

Do note that this is not a script to be mindlessly used, and several caveats apply. Details and instructions are available at User:Headbomb/unreliable. Questions, comments and requests can be made at User talk:Headbomb/unreliable.

- Headbomb {t · c · p · b}

This is a one time notice and can't be unsubscribed from. Delivered by: MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 16:01, 29 April 2022 (UTC)

Old Polish assessment and feedback requestEdit

Hello! I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask but I recently made some rather big changes to the article Old Polish. Of course it is far from complete compared to what I could still add with the sources I have, but it took me quite some time to work through all this and now I need a break esp. since I have some test at the university coming.

The phonology is probably the most complete section. In the spelling section there was another spelling reform proposal in 1513 but I think this makes it Middle Polish so I didn’t add it. The morphology is missing a lot. The nouns are the most complete but still missing some info, like some details on the development and reassignement of Proto-Slavic declension types, as well as leveling, esp. the consonantal stems of which most were leveled. Also there is info missing about some special types of masculine inflection. The verb morphology is summarized and that’s it. No info about the syntax at all. Also a part about dialects could be added.

I’d greatly appreciate any feedback, corrections and suggestions concerning my input into the article. One very obvious improvement would be adding the exact pages of the works I cite Oxford-style, shortened footnotes which I have plans to do. Also if you think that the quality of the article has improved enough to up the assessment to C I’d greatly appreciate that. Cheers! MichaelTheSlav (talk) 20:06, 3 May 2022 (UTC)

I want to give a belated thank-you to Hwqaksd for reviewing and reassessing the article, and for making fixes. Thanks a lot for help! MichaelTheSlav (talk) 15:18, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Non-typo fixesEdit

Hi all! User:Spburstein506 has made changes to dozens (hundreds?) of pages that were intended as typo fixes, apparently as a (semi-)automated task, but in many cases this led to incorrect changes of non-English words that were not lang-tagged, e.g. here[1]. I've managed to restore some the altered content (from my watchlist and parts of the editor's contribution history), and other editors noticed the botched "fixes" too, but maybe you can also help out in restoring the original texts. Thank you! –Austronesier (talk) 10:24, 15 May 2022 (UTC)

I've just had a look at about six of the non-language-related "fixes", and most of them were wrong too. Given that it took them less than 20 minutes to fix about 250 "typos", I really don't fancy the prospect of going through them manually one by one, just so that we can potentially save a few dozen good edits. Mass rollback is maybe the way to go? – Uanfala (talk) 14:19, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
I think all the edits in this list can safely be reverted (using, for those who have the rollback user right, something like User:Writ Keeper/Scripts/massRollback). – Uanfala (talk) 14:30, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
I’ve gone through over two dozen of these edits and I reverted almost all of them. Some made it apparent that they were made without looking at the changes preview at all. I support mass-rollback. MichaelTheSlav (talk) 14:36, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
I’ve asked an admin to do the rollback. MichaelTheSlav (talk) 23:21, 15 May 2022 (UTC)
That one admin has refused, citing the presence of genuine typo corrections. That prompted me to sample another half a dozen edits, and I wasn't able to find a single correct one among them. Given the effort needed here – it usually takes reading the context and then some digging to figure out if the apparent typo really is a typo – I don't think it's worth dedicating hours of our time just so that the handful of typo corrections could remain. Mass rollback remains the most sensible option. – Uanfala (talk) 12:02, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
I have reported the incident to the admin noticeboard, per admin’s suggestion. If you wish to comment there go ahead. MichaelTheSlav (talk) 14:50, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
MichaelTheSlav, you need to inform the user if you report their edits at ANI, I have done so for you this time. TSventon (talk) 14:58, 16 May 2022 (UTC)
TSventon Yes I know, I got distracted by someone IRL and then it took me a bit to get the template to work, sorry. But thanks! MichaelTheSlav (talk) 15:02, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Austronesier, I have mentioned this conversation at Wikipedia talk:Correct typos in one click and pinged the author of the script to inform them of the issue. TSventon (talk) 15:23, 16 May 2022 (UTC)

Requested move at Talk:Malaysian language#Requested move 17 May 2022Edit

There is a requested move discussion at Talk:Malaysian language#Requested move 17 May 2022 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. CMD (talk) 02:50, 18 May 2022 (UTC)

New TemplateEdit

The Template:Language Endangerment status has been created. It is modelled upon the Template:Conservation status for endangered animals. The reflects how the Red Book of Endangered Languages was modelled upon the IUCN Red List for endangered species and the similar categorisation systems used by both. The new template contains redlinks because creating new articles for all of the categories will take some time. Please feel free to create and develop them yourself to assist in this regard. There are already long and extensive lists of endangered languages on Wikipedia which could be better separated into more manageable articles according to the sub-categories of language endangerment defined by UNESCO. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ggdivhjkjl (talkcontribs) 21:16, 27 May 2022 (UTC)

Discussion at Template talk:Infobox languageEdit

The following discussion (related to the preceding section above) might of interest for members of this project:

Austronesier (talk) 20:30, 31 May 2022 (UTC)

Template:Expand language has an RFCEdit


Template:Expand language, which is within the scope of this WikiProject, has an RFC for possible consensus. A discussion is taking place. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments on the discussion page. Thank you. --N8wilson 20:28, 4 June 2022 (UTC)

Mass edits to phoneme tablesEdit

Once again, an editor has set the goal to streamline phone/phoneme tables in language and phonology articles. @Stan traynor: I think that you should get consensus here for your idea of what a good table must look like before you continue to impose personal preferences on content that has been built as a collective effort. –Austronesier (talk) 09:17, 12 June 2022 (UTC)

@Austronesier okay - that's fair. I'll give a short rundown of the principles I have been using to condense or otherwise modify tables up until this point.
  1. One cell per phoneme. It's much clearer and easier to read a table when the cells aren't crowded up with two or three phonemes, and this also makes it easier to tell what's a phoneme and what's not. While editing earlier I saw some tables - such as the old ones in Kusunda language - which were very annoying or hard to read.
  2. More compact is better. Ideally there should be as few blank cells as possible. (I imagine this would be the biggest point of contention - some people think the term Sonorant is too broad for example.) Common examples are merging stops and affricates (usually because the language doesn't have /c/ /ɟ/ but does have /tʃ/ /dʒ/.), and merging palatal and alveolo-palatal - usually because the language doesn't distinguish between /ʃ/ and /ɕ/ for example.
  3. IPA links are mandatory. Shouldn't need any extra explanation, more links are better. Yes, I know they're annoying to put in. Usually I use the source editor and ctrl+f to easily change them.
  4. Free variation displayed with C1~C2. Self explanatory.
  5. Marginal phonemes displayed in (brackets)
  6. Allophones displayed in [square brackets]
  7. Ordering of rows - I used to put nasals on top but have since stopped. Regardless I think it's good to keep the rows and columns in a fairly regular order, unless the language family has its own conventions, like Australian languages do.
  8. Vowel tables can be condensed by merging cells to put phonemes in the space "in between" them. This is best demonstrated by an example below -
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e ə o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a
since the schwa is a mid vowel, putting it between close-mid and open-mid makes sense here.
9. Base changes to tables off precedent - if a table prior displayed a marginal phoneme, display it. If it didn't, and there's good reason not to, don't.
10. Don't use colour. It has a whole host of issues and is generally just inconvenient. Use footnotes, bold, or italics to distinguish phonemes and leave notes about them.
11. If the orthography is included in the table, it must use angled brackets. Self explanatory.
That's about all of them - let me know what you think. Stan traynor (talk) 11:24, 12 June 2022 (UTC)
In principle, I agree with most you say here as good ideas for creating phoneme charts. I particularly run my own campaign for your point 2, something that already goes back to Trubetzkoy or Pike's "matrix permutation." But all this applies for phoneme charts in phonology write-ups and papers. Wikipedia is a different matter, as all we do here requires a published source. So if the author of the source we quote decides to keep post-alveolar and palatal apart as places of articulation, I don't think it is our place to combine them here on Wikipedia, as this amounts to original research. More complicated is the demand for a link to IPA. Many publications do not adhere to the IPA in their symbols for the phonemes. I guess we can replace them in the charts when the source itself makes it clear which IPA character underlies the symbol; but if not, any replacement again would be original research.
I don't see any accepted best practice for ordering rows in the linguistic literature, so we really shouldn't go into installing one here. For the matter at hand, placing nasals first strikes me as rather off the beaten path.
And finally, I usually leave out allophones or free variation from phoneme charts, even in publications. There's a reason it's called a phoneme chart, after all. LandLing 17:02, 12 June 2022 (UTC)
I should have made it clearer - I usually don't display allophones/free variation, but when I do (mainly because the chart showed it in the first place) I use those symbols.
With regards to the ipa link thing, I can't remember ever seeing a phoneme chart on wikipedia that didn't use IPA - if a publication uses nonstandard symbols and doesn't explain them (and as such they can't be put into IPA) then it would be fine not to have links.
If the author does keep post-alv. and palatal apart, then would


be acceptable? It still keeps the places of articulation apart (but places them in the same column - we're not saying for instance /j/ is post alv rather than palatal), so I think this should be permissible. Not sure though.
Final thoughts - what if a source doesn't display their phonemes in a chart, and instead uses just a list or something? (like phoible does). What would be the best course of action then? Stan traynor (talk) 17:25, 12 June 2022 (UTC)
I'd be happy with combining labels in a single column, but I would not know what to respond to people who claim that this is not what the source does, and therefore we can't do it either. I would not get into a fight with someone about it. The same with re-arranging a list into a chart. If I'm honest, I'd have to admit that creating a chart out of unsorted data goes quite beyond what the source says, in a similar way as making calculations based on raw numbers constitutes original research. I'd therefore not resist anyone who opposes such an edit on any article. I suspect that this probably happens a lot in language articles, and I'm also not going out of my way to identify and un-chart these sections. In the long run, it would be good to have some kind of agreed-upon policy about it, if it doesn't exist already. But I can also live with the current state where we have some slack about this. I agree with Austronesier, though, that we should not attempt to press all phoneme charts into a consistent format, because such a consistent format does not exist in the linguistic literature. The value of avoiding original research to me is more important than the desire to present similar facts in a consistent way across Wikipedia. LandLing 23:13, 13 June 2022 (UTC)
Not making tables out of lists makes sense, sounds like potentially a WP:SYN violation. Stan traynor (talk) 06:37, 14 June 2022 (UTC)
I'd say that if a source doesn't display its phonemes in a chart then making a chart (especially if it's a list of vowel phonemes) seems to usually be OR. For example Hiw language has a vowel chart even though the sources cited just give a list of vowel phonemes, and the vowel chart looks kinda wonky and it seems to imply things about the language's phonology and the vowels' exact quality that aren't actually stated in the sources. I'll delete that chart after posting this but I'm just saying you should be careful about turning lists into charts. Erinius (talk) 01:36, 14 June 2022 (UTC)
I wouldn't say usually. If you have a simple vowel system of, say, /i, e, a, o, u/ and the source specifies /a/ as central, that gives you a very good idea of how the vowel system works in the language. I agree that six vowel heights in Hiw definitely aren't phonemic. Five would already be exceptional. When you look at the chart, it's clear that /ə/ and possibly /ɪ/ and /e/ are misplaced. /ə/ is likely phonologically open-mid, whereas /ɪ/ and /e/ may be close-mid and open-mid, respectively. In that case Hiw would be much like Danish, in which near-close [] and close-mid [e] pattern as close-mid /e/ and open-mid /ɛ/. This shows how far removed the phonology of a language can be from the phonetic reality of its vowels (I have no idea about Hiw, though). Danish has only four phonemic heights, BTW. Sol505000 (talk) 11:46, 15 June 2022 (UTC)
I was actually mistaken about Hiw, sorry. That vowel table is taken straight from a reliable source, and there's a graph in François 2011 showing Hiw's vowels. It really does have six phonetic vowel heights, though it still certainly doesn't have six phonological or phonemic ones. Its vowel system is just a little asymmetrical. But you are right, turning a simple 5-vowel system into a table isn't really a big logical leap. Erinius (talk) 00:28, 16 June 2022 (UTC)
IPA links are mandatory. I'd say that they generally should be used, except in those cases where there's just too much variation to be covered with one link. A great example for that is /r/ in Standard German ([r ~ ʀ ~ ʁ ~ ɐ̯]) and Standard Dutch ([r ~ ʀ ~ ʁ ~ ɻ]). Another example is where a phonetic diphthong patterns with monophthongs and is therefore placed in the "monophthong" table. If Dutch phonology#Monophthongs covered only Northern Standard Dutch, /eː, øː, oː/ should not link anywhere as they are always diphthongal in their full form [eɪ, øʏ, oʊ] (or even [ɛɪ, œʏ, ɔʊ]), with special allophones [ɪə, ʏə, ʊə] before /r/ (where the phonological diphthongs /ɛi, œy, ɔu/ do not occur). In such cases, the plain IPA template should be used.
Free variation displayed with C1~C2. If it is a table of phonemes, only one symbol should be used.
Allophones displayed in [square brackets]. Allophones in tables are fine as long as the table is not titled "Consonant phonemes".
Vowel tables can be condensed by merging cells to put phonemes in the space "in between" them. I would be careful doing that. Tables of vowel phonemes should group vowels according to their phonological behavior. If, say /ɔ/ is phonologically open-mid (it alternates with /ɔː/, umlauts to /œ/, whatever) then it should be grouped together with open-mid vowels even if it's phonentically true-mid, rather than placed in any merged cell. Then again, phonemic mergers (and vowel shifts too) may mess things up - a former distinction between /ɔ/ and /o/ may still manifest itself in that the merged vowel (whether we write it /ɔ/ or /o/ doesn't matter, but we should follow the sources) patterns with both open-mid and close-mid vowels simultaneously. In that case, we may as well merge the cells, yes.
Base changes to tables off precedent. Base them off reliable sources. WP:Wikipedia is not a reliable source.
I personally don't like "Post-alv./Palatal" in the tables. Either separate the columns or use the label "palatal". Writing it as such does not "keep the places of articulation apart", it lumps them together (and ⟨j⟩ is never used for a postalveolar sound in proper IPA, though allophones of /j/ can actually include [ʒ]). The phonological behavior of /ʃ/ etc. varies from language to language, also because that symbol can be used for [ɕ] (as it is in Catalan and Dutch). Sol505000 (talk) 12:06, 15 June 2022 (UTC)
I disagree with a couple of these. Marking free variation can be useful when there's no good reason to posit one allophone as the phoneme. For example, if a language has [l] and [ɾ] in more-or-less free variation, it could be misleading to claim that it is really one or the other. Similarly, some languages have unusual allophony, such as [g] ~ [n], and listing only one would be misleading. There may also be a dispute over whether a consonant series is /b d g/ or /m n ŋ/, or we may have a single source that says it's not clear how they should be analyzed, so again IMO they should be listed as being variants. But I do agree that if, say, /t/ is [ts] before /i/, we shouldn't show [ts] in the table, as the 'elsewhere' phone isn't controversial.
Also, while compact tables may be preferable for linguists, who can be expected to understand the tradition of intentionally mistranscribing sounds for ease of typesetting etc., IMO that should be avoided in introductory material such as WP. As annoying as I find separate columns for bilabial and labiodental, for example, there's a benefit in having such precision when our readers might be confused by us merging them. — kwami (talk) 23:11, 15 June 2022 (UTC)

Pidgin/Creole Status of KanbunEdit

Basically, the Wikipedia page about Kanbun says that it is a creole or a pidgin, based on a single source, in Japanese, titled "'Kundoku' as a Pidgin-Creole Language". I can't read or even access that source. Based on the rest of the article, Kanbun Kundoku seems to be a way of annotating Chinese writing so it can be more easily understood by Japanese people. This can't be a creole and, although one source I found online described "simplification", it really doesn't sound like a pidgin either. Could I edit the article (and articles linking to Kanbun) to frame its pidgin status as just one author's opinion, rather than, say, the consensus of experts on the matter. I know I don't have any sources saying Kanbun isn't a pidgin, but I feel the current article gives undue weight to a single source. User:Error has already expressed skepticism on Talk:Kanbun, I'd appreciate feedback and discussion there. Erinius (talk) 09:14, 1 July 2022 (UTC)

I don't know a thing about that situation, but the way you describe it, there is a source (even if it is badly accessible) that states that Kanbun is a creole, and you have no source beyond your own strong conviction that it isn't. I think Wikipedia's policies are clear in this case - leave the article alone unless/until you find a source that supports your view. LandLing 00:34, 2 July 2022 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay in responding. I'd point you towards @Dekimasu's comments on WT:WPJ and Talk:Kanbun. A single IP editor added these references towards Kanbun Kundoku being a creole language, and the title of the source used could also be translated as a hypothetical. Other editors, on two occasions (here and here, reverted the IP's editions. @Aeusoes1 pointed out in their edit summary that Kanbun Kundoku doesn't even qualify as a language and so could hardly be called a creole. We essentially have one interpretation of a single, dubious source which goes against a basic background understanding of pidgins and creoles and which multiple editors have tried to remove. Erinius (talk) 16:44, 9 July 2022 (UTC)
@Erinius: the article at Ueda, Atsuko (December 2008). "Sounds, Scripts, and Styles: Kanbun kundokutai and the National Language Reforms of 1880s Japan". Review of Japanese Culture and Society. 20: 133–156. JSTOR 42800998. defines kanbun as 'classical "Chinese" writing'. - Donald Albury 01:31, 2 July 2022 (UTC)
The statement is about Kanbun Kundoku, not Kanbun. Nardog (talk) 01:32, 2 July 2022 (UTC)

A with grave (Cyrillic)Edit

I came across A with grave (Cyrillic) during new page patrol and would appreciate a knowledgeable second opinion. In particular, is it really a distinct "letter"? As opposed to a regular A with a stress mark? – Joe (talk) 13:19, 1 July 2022 (UTC)

JIPA would like to send us a list of their Illustrations of the IPA for us to link from our language articles -- feedback requestedEdit

Presumably in our "External links" section. I think they'd at least need to extract the ISO code, so a wiki bot could follow our existing ISO links to the proper articles. (Though those haven't been updated for years.) The information they supply would be something like the following:

Baima | Pingwu County, Sichuan Province, China | |
Chukchansi Yokuts | San Joaquin valley, California, USA | |
Qaqet | Raunsepna, Papua New Guinea | |
Markina Basque | Markina-Xemein, Spain | |

For these recent examples, the sound files are freely available but the articles are behind a paywall and for sale (@ US$25). However, JIPA has an agreement with CUP that the articles become freely available after 3 years. I don't know if it would normally be a problem for WP to link to a bunch of pay articles, but we could make a "JIPA" link template that calculates the date and warns the reader it's behind a pay wall if more recent than 3 years, and then disappear.

Can we automatically extract the citation info from the DOI, or would JIPA need to include it explicitly? (We could always post a link without the date or issue, of course, it just wouldn't look very professional.)

What I'd like to be able to tell them is: (a) whether we'd be willing to links to JIPA articles while they're still commercial, and (b) what information JIPA needs to provide to us for us to program a bot to automate those links and to format them appropriately. Right now they're trying to figure out how they can even extract the ISO codes within a reasonable amount of effort.

@Nohat, Lingzhi.Random, M. Dingemanse, Peter Isotalo, Mahagaja, Austronesier, Maunus, WilliamThweatt, N-true, Landroving Linguist, TaivoLinguist, Anypodetos, Erutuon, Nardog, Erinius, and Uanfala: Pinging some people I happen to be familiar with; pardon for leaving anyone out. — kwami (talk) 06:53, 11 July 2022 (UTC)

I don't see how automatic indiscriminate addition of links to illustrations would be justifiable in view of WP:ELNO. Sounds like they're effectively asking us to not only allow spam but do it for them, which is absurd. If an illustration is a source we want to cite, we cite it, but not in External links. Nardog (talk) 07:58, 11 July 2022 (UTC)
I was thinking of this as a general resource, much like our links to Glottolog or the ELP. — kwami (talk) 08:43, 11 July 2022 (UTC)
I don't personally have a problem with incorporating automatic links to the Illustrations of the IPA articles from JIPA. They are good reliable sources that are of consistent quality and academic rigor. The paywall is a problem for me, but as a group we (WP linguist editors) don't seem to mind based on our treatment of Ethnologue, which is behind a paywall as well. We link fairly automatically to Ethnologue. I'm not a fan of the hyperlegality of WP editing and I often run afoul of some subsubsubsubsubsection of some rule that was written to prevent two particular words from occurring together consecutively, so I'll leave that issue to those with a WP law degree. But as far as good sources go, the JIPA illustrations of the IPA are as good as it gets when it comes to focused, topical high-quality sources. Incorporating their list automatically would make their citation consistent. --TaivoLinguist (Taivo) (talk) 08:54, 11 July 2022 (UTC)
There is no problem with linking to sources that are behind a paywall, although we should indicate that status by using the "subscription" code in the url-access field in the citation. - Donald Albury 15:17, 11 July 2022 (UTC)
These are regularly citable scholarly works with supplementary material. If they're not used in the relevant article, they can be added to "Further reading", but then of course with full bibliographical data. I don't this it's commercial ref-spamming since JIPA comes close to being a general resource (paywalled or not). –Austronesier (talk) 20:34, 11 July 2022 (UTC)
I agree with Taivo, Donald and Austronesier on this. I don't see a problem with JIPA as such, as it is a respectable source. For many languages this may be one of very few reliable sources, so we would include this anyway. And for other languages to include it under further reading has nothing to do with spam. LandLing 02:25, 12 July 2022 (UTC)
I concur it's acceptable so long as it's to add {{cite journal}} (or {{citation}} if the article uses CS2) in the Further reading section (created if absent, following WP:SECTIONORDER) only if the article doesn't already cite it (or one from Handbook). Other than that, no. Nardog (talk) 02:33, 12 July 2022 (UTC)
How would we link to the supplementary material? I don't see any such parameter in the cite journal template. Would we need to add params to the template, or am I just overlooking them? — kwami (talk) 04:34, 12 July 2022 (UTC)
We don't need to. The material is linked from the webpage for each paper. Nardog (talk) 05:30, 12 July 2022 (UTC)
Yes, that should work fine. We might want to mention in the citation that there's a supplement, but I don't know where to put it.
What of extracting date, volume and page numbers? Can that be extracted from the DOI somehow, or will JIPA need to supply it?
I started a practice citation at Qaqet language, so we can work out exactly how it should be formatted and what info we need. Tomorrow I'll see if doi-access will accept some script to automatically display 'free' after 3 yrs. — kwami (talk) 06:20, 12 July 2022 (UTC)
Looks like that will need to be in the template, so maybe best to create a dedicated citation template for JIPA. — kwami (talk) 03:21, 18 July 2022 (UTC)


This discussion about the exact nature of the Chinese-derived script that was historically used to write Vietnamese, and how to mention it in the lede and infobox might be of interest to members of this project. –Austronesier (talk) 20:39, 11 July 2022 (UTC)

Requested moves: List of Romanian words with possible Dacian origin > List of Romanian words of possible pre-Roman originEdit

All comments on a possibly controversial moving proposal would be highly appreciated here. Borsoka (talk) 03:46, 14 July 2022 (UTC)

Announcing template WiktionarylangEdit

New Template:Wiktionarylang may be used to add a small box flush right with a link to a term in a foreign language wiktionary. If you're familiar with {{Wikisourcelang}}, the operation of the new template is similar, and uses the same four positional parameters, and adds one more to allow you to specify 'section' (as in this example), 'paragraph', and so on instead of 'article'. Mathglot (talk) 03:48, 18 July 2022 (UTC)